Redhouse Park Sundial Feature

This ongoing project is just one part of an ambitious arts trail by Great Linford Parish Council

A large Gnomon (or shadow striker) is to be relocated, from it’s previous home in The Theatre District, to a site at the end of Millfield Gardens, Redhouse Park, Milton Keynes:

In this case the gnomon is a 5M long mild steel Circular Hollow Section, facing true South, at an angle of 52 degrees, making it parallel to The Earth’s Axis. As the planet rotates a shadow on the ground follows a clockwise path. The sketch below shows the hour lines from six AM to mid-day then up to six PM. The sketch below is of the site in plan, with the hour lines radiating out from the gnomon.

The length of the shadow shortens with the sun’s (relative) elevation, allowing us to mark the time of year in lines running across the radiating hour lines:

In this case six lines mark the twelve Signs of The Zodiac. Because the site is highly contoured, these lines distort, as the ground falls away from the line of the shadow. These lines could be picked out in slate off-cuts

Click here, or on above image for animation in new tab…

Here CAD has been used to simulate solar shadows. A survey of the site may be used to predict where shadows may fall at any time on any date of the year, allowing for the ground falling away from the shadow line.

The curved lines running across the site mark the zones through which the sun’s shadow will pass through various times of the year. These could coincide with the 12 signs of the zodiac, in special anti slip coloured coating, stenciled around the intersecting footpath. Below is a design depicting Aries the ram (March 21st to April 19th)

Here is a CAD Rendering of what the refurbished gnomnon might look like- in this case it has been extended with a laser- cut baffle, with four directional coloured glass filters, so that in bright sunlight the tip will change appearance with the sun’s position.

or in perspective:

A recent visit to Granlyn Specialist Coatings, agents for the Metalier finishing system, highlighted some interesting possibilities. Basically powdered metals (typically bronze or gunmetal) is applied in a substrate over an epoxy primer. These finishes can be chemically  patinated and/ or buffed to a reflective finish. The coating also has sufficient thickness to take a texture, either through stippling, or with a latex roller

Bronze Textured

Smokey bronze textured (Patinated, then buffed)

Rose Aluminium with applied texture.


Gunmetal textured

It will be appreciated that although the techniques shown are a fraction of the cost of a specialist foundry casting, they may prove to be beyond the budget of this project.

This is a more accurately scaled 3D CAD rendering of the current incarnation, modeled on survey data.

Again, this is a more recent version of the design. The softworks are as they were when this base photo was taken.

There will be some swathes of bulb planting at ground level- these will come out at different times of the year.

5 responses on Redhouse Park Sundial Feature

  1. I’m curious as to whether the residents at 20,22 & 24 Millfield Gardens will be getting a say as to whether they are happy to have a gaint McDonalds straw errected slap bang in the middle of what is currently a beautiful unspoilt natural view of Linford lakes ?

    1. Afternoon,
      Thank you for posting- the purpose of this blog is to give people a voice.
      The steel post is a re-cycled piece from another site, and is shown as a CAD rendering with it’s original pearlescent white finish. Rust has attacked this, so it will need sand- blasting and re-finishing.
      I agree that the colour shown may be a little lacking in subtlety, and have been exploring alternative finishes (See latest addition to blog, above),



  2. The two properties, number 20
    and 22 who both are located oposite the site have not been consulted in this proces. The plans show an array of planting and borders
    I fail to see the necessity of positioning such a piece of work in this place. Surely artwork is placed to create a feature of beauty and interest. The view from Millfield Gardens is already an area of natural beauty with the trees, lake view and nature. The view for residents is beautiful enough without having to place something directly in front of us, against our wishes.

  3. I would like perious commentators to cast an eye over the above, more recent renderings- these give a far more accurate indication of the gnomons current scale, against a large site and a backdrop of mature trees in excess of 12M.

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